Outdoor Kitchens For Sustainability

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Summer Kitchen Revival

Before the days of electricity in the house or the air conditioner cooling off the living spaces from the heat of summer and cooking, there were outdoor kitchens.

It was an effort to keep the house as cool as possible. They are also known as Summer Kitchens.

The summer kitchen’s purpose was for putting up food for the year, canning, preserving, pickling, and processing. It all took place on a wood-fired stove, which created enough heat to chase everyone out of the house.

Outdoor Kitchens Still in Use Today

When I lived on a small island in the Caribbean, our tiny beach cottage had a kitchen on the porch. Why? So cooking a meal wouldn’t heat up the entire 400 sq. ft. house. Unlike summer kitchens of North America, this little work space was our main kitchen year-round rather than seasonally.

In the past, the food was often prepped in the kitchen, but it wasn’t stored there. Herbs would dry in the attic, flour and vegetables were kept in a cool cellar. You would walk all over the house to gather the ingredients for a meal.

When electricity started making its way into homes, the summer kitchen was abandoned.

However, these outdoor kitchens are starting to make a comeback because people want to get closer to their food supply. There is no better way to get closer to nature and the food we eat than having a summer or outdoor kitchen.

What do you need for an outdoor kitchen?

When planning your outdoor/summer kitchen, think about function, efficiency, and comfort. What do you need and what can come later?

An efficient summer kitchen space could be as simple as you want it to be or as elaborate. Oh and that pizza oven you want, is it necessary or is it a luxury?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your Summer Kitchen:

  1. Do you want it to be seasonal or permanent?
  2. Does it need to be enclosed, partially enclosed, or open to the elements?
  3. Does it need shade?
  4. Do you need seating? A table?
  5. What will you need to store? Food? Spices? Cutting boards? Silverware? Plates & Bowls? Cookware?
  6. Is there a nearby herb or veggie garden?
  7. Do you need running water?
  8. What about a greywater catchment system?
  9. Is a compost pile nearby?
  10. What will you cook on?
  11. Do you need an oven? A Sun Oven? A dehydrator?
  12. Is the ground level where you want to put the kitchen?
  13. Do you need refrigeration?
  14. What will you do when it rains? When it’s windy? When it’s blistering hot?
  15. Who will be using the kitchen?
  16. Who will be in the kitchen, particularly at the same time?
  17. How do you spend your time in the kitchen? Cooking or baking? Entertaining? Dishes? 

Think triangular work space

The triangle is a great shape when designing an efficient kitchen workflow. No matter the location of the kitchen.

How do you work in the kitchen when you prepare a meal?

You take the food out of the fridge. Then it is taken either to the sink or the stove area, cleanup goes from the stove and prep areas to the sink, and leftovers get put in the fridge.

Have a plan before you create your outdoor kitchen. Take a good look at what will fit in the space that you’ve allowed for your summer kitchen. Two ways into and out of the space will help with flow.

Start with the Sink. That’s where you’re going to spend a lot of your time, cleaning, prepping, and doing dishes. You’ll also want a beautiful view while you’re doing your work, right?

In the Cooking Area, you’ll want to be able to socialize with family and friends.

You’ll probably want between 18 in. to 36 in. for a comfortable prep area. There’s nothing worse than not having enough prep area. Am I right?

Think about walkways and flow into and through your summer kitchen, too.

Set the kitchen up into 5 zones:

  • Food storage (fridge, cabinets, or pantry)
  • Dishes
  • Clean up (sink area)
  • Prep area
  • Cooking

Store items as close to their zone as possible. For example, knives, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and wooden spoons should be in the prep area. Cooking and baking pans should be in the cooking area.

Store your dishes close to the sink. Having a cabinet above the sink where your dishes dry and store all in one place is amazing.


Food preservation in your summer kitchen

When my grandmother canned her summer vegetables, outdoor kitchens were the norm, not a luxury. She’d set up her outdoor kitchen under a giant poplar with the chickens running all around the yard. If grandma did it, so can you!

Preserving your harvest is wonderful in the cold, winter months. It may take time and effort right now, but it is well worth it.

Life slows down a little bit, so you can enjoy family and friends.

There are three ways of preserving food that can be done in your summer kitchen: storage, canning, and drying.

The important thing is to start where you are. Check out this video for more tip.


A handful of vegetables can be stored, but only for a limited amount of time. Here is a great article about storing fruits and vegetables from the University of Missouri Extension Office.

You can store:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • beets
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • carrots
  • leeks
  • radishes
  • horseradish
  • rutabagas
  • garlic
  • onions

Make sure veggies are firm. Remove any dirt, but do not wash the veg. Place the veggies in a box or bin. Air should circulate around the veggies. Slatted wooden boxes and wire baskets work great for this.


If you’re going to be canning, make sure you have all of your supplies handy.

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Pressure canner
  • Funnels
  • Ladles
  • Pectin
  • Spices
  • Salts
  • Jar Lifter

Here’s a recipe for “Canned corn that’s sweet every time.”

Know which fruits and vegetables need to be pressure canned versus water-bath canned. The book, Stocking Up is invaluable for this purpose.


It’s super-easy to dry fruits and vegetables. You can even do it in a Sun Oven! Dried foods can be stored indefinitely, as long as they are kept dry.

You can dry:

  • root vegetables
  • beans of all kinds
  • cereal and grains
  • celery
  • herbs
  • peas
  • peppers
  • berries
  • fruits with high sugar and low moisture

Here is a great article with dehydrator recipes.

If you’ve ever thought of having a summer or outdoor kitchen, perhaps now is the time. Share your thoughts on how you would set it up. We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below!


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Stress Management: When Wildfires Threaten … Do This First

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The horizon around me was choked with dark smoke.

We were literally surrounded by five separate wildfires. I needed stress management and fast!

One of the longest, most respected scientific studies has shown that there is a STRONG correlation between proper breathing, stress management, and a long life.

According to that study, the No. 1 indicator of life expectancy is…

…well, you’d probably be better off just watching the latest video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground.  In it, I explain all that, give detailed how-tos on various breathing techniques—and a whole lot more.

Watch the video for more on my story and how I overcame the stress of the situation. (Length: 21:22 minutes)

And, as I sat on the roof of my barn, I knew we were one wind shift away from having our property engulfed in flames.

We were ready to evacuate if the fires started coming our way. But until then, I focused on the one thing that could help me maintain a clear head, stay calm, and avoid stressing out…stress management!

I breathed. Deeply. In through my nose, filling my belly, then my chest, counting strategically, and then exhaling through my mouth.

Despite the circumstances, I could feel the increased oxygen jump-starting my brain. Whatever came next, I was ready.

Thankfully, that wind never shifted. The wildfires didn’t destroy our homestead. Our family and livestock were safe.

But I still remember that rooftop moment as a great (maybe extreme?!) example of a time when deep breathing helped me manage stress in a healthy way.

Proper breathing really can save your life.

  • What do you think? 
  • What’s your go-to in times of stress?
  • What are your favorite breathing tips?

Have you seen the other Grow Book videos?

I’m talking it out as I write it, and I’d love to get your feedback. You can see them here:

Grow Book Overview

Be Wealthy – Even If You’re Not Rich

Can You Be Healthy Eating From The Grocery Store?

What Toxins Are Hiding In Your Home?

Staying Healthy and Free—Even into Old Age!

How I Almost Lost My Leg!

I so appreciate you watching these videos and giving your feedback. So, please leave a comment below.

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Measure Distance Using Compass

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Your compass is a measuring tool that can be adapted to a variety of needs. As shown here, it can be used to measure more than just direction.

You can use your magnetic compass to determine the width of a stream or small body of water without having to get wet. This quick and easy method of determining distance using a compass may just come in handy. In any case, it is always a good trick you can use to amaze your fellow survivors.

Here is how it is done.

1. Standing at the edge of the water, sight an object directly across from you on the far bank. Take a compass reading on this object and mark the spot where you are standing.

2. Walk along the stream until the compass reading to the same object across the stream changes by 45-degrees and mark this spot also.

3. Now measure the distance between the two marks you set. This will be equal to the distance between the first mark and the object you sighted across the stream.

For example:

Say you are standing next to a stream and directly across from you on the opposite bank is a large tree. Take out your compass and sight the tree. 

Let’s pretend the compass reads 300-degrees (Azimuth type compass) or S30W (Quadrant type compass). Mark this spot and then walk either downstream or upstream until the compass sighting on the same tree reads 45-degrees in either direction from your first reading (either 255-degrees or 345-degrees on an azimuth type compass, S15E or N15W on a quadrant type compass). 

Mark this position also. The width of the stream is equal to the distance between your two marks on the ground. If you have practiced pacing (and every survivor should) you can count the number of paces between the two marks and calculate the width of the stream.

The best survivalists are skilled in using whatever materials at hand in novel ways that give him an edge over his environment. “Thinking out of the box” is a trademark of the true survivor.

~Urban Man~

How to Process a Coffee Plant From Tree To Delicious Cup

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A delicious cup of coffee is a luxury many of us can’t do without. This tropical beauty (the coffee plant) has us wrapped around her little finger from the first sip to the last drop. 

Now that I live in the tropics, I’ve jumped in with both feet to grow a coffee plant and process the beans. Today, I’ll show you how I do it. Now, we didn’t process our coffee plant the easy way. I deliberately didn’t look up all the labor-saving ways to process coffee, much to my wife Rachel’s chagrin. Instead, I decided to do it all by hand.

It started with harvesting the coffee cherries from the coffee plant we discovered in the cocoa orchard.

Watch the video. (Length: 8:47 min)

After that, there are four distinct phases to processing the beans from the coffee plant.

  1. Harvest the fruit from the coffee plant
  2. Remove the coffee beans from the fruit
  3. Ferment/clean the coffee beans
  4. Dry the coffee beans
  5. Remove the “parchment” layer from the dry beans
  6. Roast and grind the beans

I created a couple of videos showing the whole process. You can watch the two-part long version or the short version.

In Part One, we remove the coffee beans from the fruit and start the fermentation process. (Length: 18:29 min)

We did this all by hand, so it was a rather time-consuming process. Using your teeth is not necessarily recommended but works much better than any implement I’ve found, unless you do it the easy way and smash with a big board, like this (Length: 1:43 min):

In Part Two, we show the final process from drying to roasting. (Length: 17:39 min)

If you’re short on time, watch the short version. I demonstrate the whole process from coffee plant to cup in 2.5 minutes:

And, just because…I’m sure you have a cup of coffee close at hand. Have a little fun with the Hip-Hop version!

There’s really no excuse for the rap, but I guess you could call it “edutainment.”

Can’t handle the caffeine in coffee? Try some Dandelion Coffee.

A few years ago, I did a post sharing the entire process as a Hawaiian couple does it.

Sounds like fun and you get coffee?! That’s a win-win! So are you going to try to grow your own coffee plant? Tell us in the comments below.


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Bush shelter saved dad and son lost in Tasmanian wilderness for days

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Learn primitive skills & equip yourself with suitable equipment before going bush.

How to Build a Super Simple Compost Pile from Local Materials

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Here’s a simple compost pile design:

Unlike many of my composting experiments, this is a traditional compost pile of alternating layers of carboniferous and nitrogenous materials. The boundary is made from cut limbs hammered into the ground and woven about with palm fronds.

I also added homemade biochar to this compost pile to get it “charged” for future projects.

The C/N ratio in this pile should be about perfect with the greens and browns but if it doesn’t get hot enough I can always pour on some diluted urine to raise the nitrogen levels.

This simple compost pile can be set up anywhere in about an hour using local materials. I’ve done this in a cornfield before, cutting and chopping old stalks for the base, then adding on layers of greens and browns. Come back a few months later and harvest your compost!

Here’s a breakdown on the whole process.

How to Build a Simple Compost Pile with Local Materials

Step 1: Cut Stakes

I used sticks cut from some unidentified roadside nitrogen-fixing tree locals use as a windbreak.


It’s a soft wood and easy to chop, but you can use anything you like from bamboo to oak to PVC. 4-5′ lengths are good, as you want the pile to reach at least 3′ tall and you need some stake depth to drive into the ground.


Step 2: Install Stakes and Put Down Rough Material

I had already cut up some rough material and thrown it down before putting in the stakes, but it’s better to put in the stakes first.

Simple ompost pile Step_1

Cornstalks, hedge trimmings and other rough materials filled with air pockets make a good compost pile foundation. In the case of this pile, I used chopped twigs and leaves from the nitrogen-fixing trees used for the stakes, some jasmine and hibiscus trimmings and a papaya tree.

Step 3: Weave the Sides

I can’t make a good basket, but I’m not bad at simple compost pile weaving.

Simple compost pile weaving the edges

The idea is to hold in the compost while still allowing some air through into the pile. This also supports the stakes. In a temperate climate you could replace the palm fronds with grape vines, tall grasses, cattails or other plant material.

Step 4: Add some Browns

Gotta get that carbon!


As I state in the video, these leaves have a lot of dirt in them. That soil contains microbes which will help break everything down, so I didn’t bother adding a few shovelfuls of soil as I normally would when making a compost pile.

Step 5: Add some Greens (and Keep Layering!)

Get that nitrogen in there!


Grass clippings are a really good compost pile starter – if you have them, use them.

Just keep laying greens and browns until you’ve made the pile nice and tall. You can also throw in biochar if you have it.


It won’t really help the composting process, but my hope is that it will be charged up with nutrients, bacteria and fungi as the pile rots.

Step 6: Water Well

This is important: composting uses a lot of water, so get some on at the beginning. If most of your materials are dry, you might want to water each layer as you build the pile. I was too lazy to do that so I soaked it from the top before finishing the final covering layer.


Step 7: Cover the Pile

Covering the pile holds in heat and moisture. Sticking with my locally available materials, I used banana leaves.


You can also use a tarp or just another layer of brown leaves. Compost really isn’t a finicky thing to make – it’s will work, even if you don’t do anything “right.”

It’s going to decay and become humus over time, hot or not, perfect ratios or not.

In a few months you can turn this pile over and sift out the good stuff – or just push it around over the garden bed beneath and get planting.

Get out there and get composting – a simple compost pile is all you need.

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

If survival is what you are interested in & preparing for, then that is what you need to concentrate on. Camping is not survival, unless it is primitive camping, in which case there are skills to be learnt there. Bushcraft in the main is not about survival, it is about inventing new so called “skills” that you can practice & share but have no real practicle survival value. Modern camping & bushcraft is about gadgetry, new gadgets & tents are being produced all the time to lure the gadget oriented person into spending more money on stuff that has no real practicle value. Camping used to be about practicle skills & basic equipment, now it is an industry.

Lost survival is different from shtf survival. Lost survival involves people who fail to notify anyone where they are going & how long they will be, or they change their plans without telling anyone. SHTF survival is about surviving a major catastrophe, surviving an event that endangers your life & your living standards. If you are in the city you will have to leave & find somewhere safer in the country. If you are living in the country already you will need to step up your security measures. In both cases you will need to know primitive skills, & you will need basic tools to help you survive long term. Modern gadgets & modern tents won’t cut it. They will not last or stand up to the rigors of primitive living conditions & once they are gone you are left with nothing.

The author’s .62 caliber flintlock smoothbore fusil.
You need to choose a period pre 19th century & equip yourself with the tools & equipment of that period. Why? Because these tools will last, these tools were designed with a specific purpose in mind, survival, & once you are equipped in this fashion you will never drop below that level of comfort. Some 20th century tools will be very useful if you are already living in the country or are intending to move to a retreat. We are talking “hand tools” here, basic hand tools that do not rely on electricity or fuel to operate. You may well be living off grid using solar power electricity, but there is no guarantee that this will last. One of our batteries now has a dead cell, the system is still holding up, but for how long we can not tell.
So, think long & hard & seriously about how you equip yourself. Think about what will be required of the tools that you choose. A short bladed bushcraft knife will not kill as quickly as a longer bladed hunting knife if used for stabbing. Modern methods of fire lighting may not be the best, get a real flint, steel & tinderbox. This will last a lifetime & using it will teach you more fire lighting skills than using a ferrocerium rod. 
12 gauge Black Powder breechloader shotgun with brass cartridges.
When it comes to guns modern firearms are best for defence at your home in the bush, but if you have to “bug-out” with no dwelling to go to, then I recommend you carry a flintlock muzzleloading gun & a bow. Modern ammunition is heavy & bulky & if a modern firearm malfunctions, you are left with a fancy club or a goat stake! People are for ever rubbishing the flintlock muzzleloading gun, in favour of a more modern firearm. Yes having a 9mm Glock on your belt would be very reassuring, IF you can obtain one! My argument is that I can have a flintlock pistol right now, & I would sooner have a flintlock pistol than no handgun at all. Besides which there are many advantages to using a flintlock that are not available to you if you are using a modern breechloader.
.32 caliber flintlock rifle. Accurate, more power than a .22 rimfire & practicle for long term wilderness living.

So make up your mind now if you are really serious about shtf survival. If you genuinely think that something major could go down in the future that could threaten you (& your family);your life & your way of living, then stop wasting your time & money on modern gadgets & tents. Learn primitive skills & equip yourselves with primitive gear that will last long term. You will find that it is less expensive in the long run anyway.
Belt axe/tomahawk. Far more practicle than a machete.
Hunting knife for skinning, butchering & self-defence.
.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol for defence.
Exceptions? Possibly water filters, these could be useful if you have to leave the city & go bush. Maybe not of long term use, but they may help in your escape. Medical. You can’t beat good modern medical supplies. By all means use herbal remedies, but do not rely solely on herbs for your survival.

Medical supplies are very important.

The author’s hunting sword. A good basic self-defence tool to carry after the fall.

Hand Drill Friction Fire Step-by-Step Tutorial: Making Drill to Starting…

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This is not an Australian video, but the same applies if you are using the grass tree plant, also know as Yacca. This is the brother of one of our group members on our official forum. Great video & well worth watching.

Bushcraft and Primitive Skills With Joshua Kirk

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Bushcraft and Primitive Skills Discussion With Joshua Kirk Richard McGrath “Finding Freedom” Audio in player below! Join Rich in player below as he talks about Bushcraft, primitive skills, and survival. Special guest is Joshua “Native” Kirk from the 4 Winds Survival School. From the young age of six Joshua was hunting game, setting traps, tanning … Continue reading Bushcraft and Primitive Skills With Joshua Kirk

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A Correlation Between The Equipment You Choose and The Skills You Learn.

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A Correlation Between The Equipment You Choose and The Skills You Learn.

I believe that when choosing equipment for survival use in the bush, there is more to consider than just ease of use and sustainability. Obviously when preparing for long term wilderness living, you need to choose equipment that will survive the years of use, but what about a correlation between the equipment & the skills you learn from using this equipment?

As an example, anyone can learn primitive fire lighting skills, they can learn about native plant tinders & the difference between tinder & kindling. They can learn about wet weather fire lighting & where to find dry kindling in the rain, but how many people do you think will actually learn these skills if they are using a BIC lighter or a ferrocerium rod & Vaseline cotton balls to make fire? Let us take another example; using bow & arrows for hunting. If you are using a bow for hunting, or even a muzzle-loader, you need to know how to stalk your game in close. You may only get the one shot, plus you need a clean kill or at the very least a disabling shot. But how does this compare to someone using a long range modern breech-loading rifle?

Now for those of you that now ask the question what does it matter? I say this, IF you are unable to get a fire going with your BIC lighter or if you should take a fall & break your lighter, how are you going to make fire? If you run out of ammo or your modern rifle malfunctions, how are you going to be able to hunt for food? Yes I know, you may have learnt how to make traps & learnt about trapping, you may also have more BIC lighters on your person, but you can surely see where I am coming from. I believe that a person who is primitive oriented & chooses to carry primitive equipment (pre 19thcentury), is likely to be more knowledgeable regarding primitive survival skills than someone who uses modern equipment.

What equipment do you use? What primitive survival skills have you learnt? Think about it!

Larry Roberts: After Alone on History Channel

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Larry Roberts: After Alone on History Channel Karen “Lil’ Suburban Homestead” This show in player below! Lil’ Suburban Homestead interviews Larry Roberts Primitive Skills expert and Outdoorsmen, Contestant on History’s Alone, and an Instructor at the Pathfinder School. Karen previously interviewed Larry for her Primitive Skills show on the Prepper Broadcasting Network. To take a listen … Continue reading Larry Roberts: After Alone on History Channel

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What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

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Medical Kit.


Food bags & containers.

Water bottles or flasks.

Tools for hunting & defence.

Shelter & bedding.

What Skills Will Allow You To Do & Not Do.

The debate regarding equipment versus skills is ongoing, in my personal opinion, both are of equal importance. We are not just talking about survival; we must also be concerned with our quality of life. Yes learning primitive skills for long term survival are very important, but you have to think about what these skills can provide you with & what they can’t. For instance, if you need to cook a stew, then you need a fireproof container. You could experiment making clay vessels, you can also use animal skins & use the hot rock method. But how much easier is it to carry a metal kettle with you?

So why am I mentioning this? I am mentioning this because weight matters if you have to carry it on your back when travelling on foot. There has to be some compromise between two principles, minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. When people are asked about the hunting tools/weapons, top of the list is usually high powered breech-loading firearms. These are fine for self-defence, but how practicle are they for long term survival? The larger the caliber, the more the ammunition weighs, & the more space in your pack it takes up. We need to prioritise, is it more important to carry a lot of weight in modern ammunition? Or is it more important to carry more medical equipment & supplies, vitamin supplements, more food & more water? If we are travelling alone, we can not carry both.

If we are only carrying a modern firearm & we intend to use it for hunting & defence, then the ammunition will not last long. We can of course avoid a fire fight by keeping a low profile, & we can save on ammunition by setting up a trap line for meat. But how secure will you feel knowing that when your ammunition runs out, you will be left with nothing with which to defend yourself or procure game? Your alternatives are: carrying an air rifle, carrying a traditional bow & arrows, or carrying a flintlock muzzle-loading gun/rifle & pistol. Another alternative for those in America might be to carry a modern sidearm in combination with one of the aforementioned hunting tools, or carry a bow & a modern firearm.

Weight is the all important factor, that & sustainability. Solid form medications have a long shelf life, so we need to take advantage of this. Dry foods too have a long storage capability & it is important that we carry as much food as we can. Eventually we hope to be able to take the time to forage for edible flora & hunt & trap game, but until that time comes, we are on the move & we need to keep a low profile.

Can primitive skills supply you with medications? Yes of course they can, but finding the herbs you need will not be easy, & especially so if you are already feeling ill. We need to think about our well being, our comfort. Any item that is sustainable & will make life easier is worth carrying, within reason. Skills will enable you to make a survival bow & arrows, but if you should ever come up against someone with a gun, you may have some difficulty surviving. Something that people often fail to take into account is the shock factor of a firearm, the noise & the impact of the missile. A bow against a firearm can not deliver this.

Anyway, the purpose of this article is to make you think before you leap. Think about the equipment you are going to carry & how it will best benefit your survival physically & mentally. Learn all you can about primitive skills, & if you plan to survive on your own retreat, then think about the living skills you will need to keep things in good repair.

When it comes to transporting equipment on foot, you can use a hiking trolley, but like all forms of transport from vehicles to animals, there will always be a negative side. The tracks you will leave to be followed, the places you can’t go, the noise you will make.

The cost & importance of learning. Clubs, Groups & Schools. Plus the advantages & disadvantages.

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The cost & importance of learning, clubs, groups & schools. Plus the advantages & disadvantages.

When it comes to long term survival, the skills start with choosing the right clothing & equipment. After that you have to learn how to use that equipment & you need to learn how to manage if you should lose that equipment. Survival schools are generally expensive, this is because they have to put in a lot of time teaching people the skills, & time cost money if you are running a business. Some schools will teach you primitive skills, others will not. Some schools will teach you how to survive if you get lost in the bush, others may teach you how to survive long term. But it will all cost you money.

Bushcraft groups are good & they will teach you some survival skills. Again, some may promote the use of modern tools & equipment, where as others may teach you more primitive skills. In general, you will pay a yearly fee which is used to pay for your insurance cover. Survival groups fall roughly into the same category as the bushcraft groups, a mixed lot which may or may not teach you what you need to know. Basically it depends on the individual members, some will be more knowledgeable than others, but in the long run they can’t teach you what they don’t know themselves.

It is well known that in order to survive long term in a wilderness situation, you will need to learn primitive skills, & your equipment & tools will need to be low tech. Modern equipment is not made to last, batteries will go flat, items will break & wear out. You need sustainable methods & primitive gear. If you start off with pre 19th century equipment you will never drop below that level of comfort. But if you start off with all modern gear, then sooner or later you will be thrown back into the stone age.

Now let’s look at another kind of club or group, an 18thcentury living history group. Most again will charge a yearly membership fee, & it must be said that not all living history groups are equal in the benefits that they offer the survivalist. But, the potential for learning is still there, you simply may have to put in more effort to gather some members together who have the skills that you need to learn.

Our group, the New England Colonial Living History Group does not charge any membership fees or training fees, it is all free. However, we do not carry any insurance either, our members are covered by the Civil Liability Amendment (Personal Responsibility) Bill 2002. For many years I payed for our group insurance out of my own pocket so that lower income families could afford to join our group. Eventually, I had to stop paying out of my own pocket (there never were any accidents or insurance claims). When you think about it we go with groups of friends out bush for various recreational activities, & no one ever questions if there is insurance cover. We all take personal responsibility for ourselves, & we watch out for the safety of others.

The advantages of joining a group like ours is that our activities cover a wide range of interests. We can advise on equipment & clothing, & we teach people all the skills they may need for free. Individuals do not have to participate in any activity if they do not wish to, but remember, in a shtf situation, there will be NO insurance, NO doctors & NO hospitals. If you want to cover yourself, use your money to purchase a good modern medical kit & take it to group meetings. Also carry a personal first aid kit in your pack. That way if you cut yourself or smack yourself in the head whilst learning archery, you can patch yourself up & keep going.

Kids in general love participating in living history. It is an opportunity to do something which is fun & educational & they get to share this experience with there parents or carers. In shooting clubs, archery clubs & fishing clubs you will learn only so much, very little of what you do learn will prepare you for survival. In a group like ours though you get to learn everything; you learn what is the best equipment & how to use it. You learn how to repair your equipment & in the case of archery & fishing, you learn how to make your own from scratch with no modern tools.

Some living history groups have splinter groups such as a militia group where you can learn battle tactics. Some groups are purely Ranger groups & again, battle training is a normal part of their activities on top of all the other skills you can learn. All Living History groups are family oriented, so all the family gets to join in one way or another. On top of all this learning & training, living history groups are a lot of fun. If you are serious about long term wilderness survival, I recommend you inquire in your area for a living history group, be it medieval period or 18thcentury or somewhere in between.

Our Group’s Official Forum: http://eighteenthcenturylivinghistory.freeforums.org/  

You will also find links to other groups in other areas & countries on our forum.

How to Whittle – Guest Post

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In an effort to continually bring you great information not just from myself, I am pleased to have Nathan Dobson from Best Wood Carving Tools bring us a guest post. Check him out on Twitter as well @MasterCarving — How To Whittle There are several styles of wood carving; the most popular is whittling. This … Continue reading

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Primitive Skills Expert Mike Douglas

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Primitive Skills Expert Mike Douglas Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Listen in player below! On this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, Michael Douglas of the Maine Primitive Skills School is back. Mike is a treasure trove of information on primitive skills. Every prepper and survivalist would be served by acquiring primitive skills. Enable you to thrive even … Continue reading Primitive Skills Expert Mike Douglas

The post Primitive Skills Expert Mike Douglas appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

School of the Woods: Turning My Classroom Inside Out

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by Todd Walker

“In the school of the woods there is no graduation day.”

~Horace Kephart, The Book of Camping and Woodcraft, 1910


I deal with an inner struggle with every math lesson forced upon students.

They groan and ask, “When will we ever use algebra in real life?”

If I’m honest, my response is, “Never, unless you plan on teaching math one day.”

But that’s not entirely true. There’s that high-stakes test looming at the end of the year to determine who can regurgitate all the rote-learning jammed into a brain surging with teenage hormones. Forcing them to learn stuff they’re not interested in is as painful as pulling your own tooth with a rusty hobnail.

I can’t make them learn, but I can let them learn. In my experience, children who are allowed to follow their interests will learn across all academic disciplines enthusiastically.

We all learn the stuff we are interested in learning. I scraped by in all my college English classes with a solid C minus average. I hated writing and reading because it was forced upon me. Today is different. I taught myself to write (some may argue that point) because I have a real-world goal of sharing my journey to self-reliance and preparedness. Research and writing, unlike my college days, are now enjoyable as I purse my interests.

Here’s the thing…

Children (and adults) learn not by passively absorbing information but because something becomes interesting to them – or they watch and listen to others doing interesting stuff. Every school year my students discover my blog and YouTube channel. They get excited and want to start Doing the Stuff that I write about or demonstrate on video.

Children need space to learn naturally. Intuitively, they want to discover and develop intellectual skills – not become grand test-takers. Our rigid system of schooling promotes the latter. But awakenings happen. Moments like last Friday.

Friction Fire Friday

Capitalizing on my student’s interest in a few topics of self-reliance, and my love for the magic of friction fire, we left the classroom for a bow and drill fire demonstration. All sorts of science and math are involved in self-reliance. Heck, I’ve even witnessed students who are self-proclaimed book-haters open books on their own accord to learn about self-reliant skills. The possibilities are frightening.

School of the Woods: Turning My Classroom Inside Out ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Loading the spindle

Opening my box of tinder material and other primitive fire making tools, the Science lesson began…

“How hot does your stove top need to get to boil water?” I asked. The boiling point of water is 212º F so it must be hotter than that, right? Agreement was reached. Your electric range top is powered by fire traveling through copper wires without burning your home to the ground. Fire has always been the center piece of homes since primitive times… and it was never as easy as we have it today.

By rubbing two sticks together, we will conduct enough heat to the charred dust for spontaneous combustion.

“How hot do you think we need get the wood dust?”

Answers ranged from 200 to 250, and biscuit-baking temperature. Your oven at home doesn’t even reach the temperature needed. Through friction, we can create enough heat to raise the wood temperature to between 700-800 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot!

I pointed out that the cedar spindle we used is similar to a wooden pencil and works in the same way. The eraser end creates more friction than the writing end. When rubbing out an error in an algebra equation, the eraser leaves tiny particles of dust which is flicked away by the writer’s pinky finger.

However, the dust from our fire spindle is precious char and must be collected. Ideally, you want the wood dust to be as fine as baby powder as it collects in the missing slice of pie cut from the hearth board. Finer dust has an increased surface area to volume ratio. More surface area equates to a lower temperature needed for combustion.

After dust collects in the missing pie slice, faster revolutions of the spindle and increased downward pressure will increase the heat to reach the critical temperature needed to cause the charred dust to spontaneously combust.

And the magic happens!

For those interested in learning the bow and drill fire method, reading this won’t achieve the desired results. This is simply book-learning. Don’t expect great results from articles and books and videos. It’s called Doing the Stuff for a reason.

Some suggested do’s and don’ts can be found in our step-by-step guide on bow and drill method. Hopefully, this will offer some things to avoid on your journey to friction fire success.

Back to the lesson…

Surface Area and Fire

Before spinning the spindle, I asked, “What are three things every fire needs to burn?” Three separate students who paid attention in Science class quickly gave the correct answers; heat, air, and fuel. Our heat source is friction. Air, often taken for granted, must be present. Fuel will be our char dust in the beginning.

Not wanting to disappoint the students with smoke only, I choose a proven bow drill set made of Eastern Red Cedar sap wood. Setting up the drill in my bow, I asked which end of the pencil-like spindle should contact the hearth board to create the most friction. “The eraser end,” they answered in unison. Right. The sharp, pointed end has less surface area which equals less friction. My kids are smart scientists!

The grinding begins, followed by smoke… and oohs and aahs… and cell phones clicking pics and videos to document this primitive magic.

School of the Woods: Turning My Classroom Inside Out ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com


Midway through the process my bow string snaps. The bank line on my favorite bow had twirled one too many spindles. I thought of asking the students to donate a shoe lace. Knowing the affection and social status placed on shoes of middle schoolers, I declined. We had just enough cord to wrap around the bow handle and proceed with drilling.

A few determined moments of spinning brought the charred dust to ignition temperature. Smoke floated skyward signaling the birth of a baby fire egg.

Allowing time for the fire egg to mature and grow inside the dust pile, we formed a “bird’s nest” from a handful of roadside pine needles which had been crushed and mangled by vehicle tires to create lots of surface area in the tinder. This stuff is a free, ready-to-use fire resource my primitive technology mentor, Scott Jones, turned me onto.

Birthing the Fire Egg 

A smoldering pile of dust was cool and all but flames licking through my fingers was what the students came to see. We transferred the fragile egg from its welcome mat to the prepared nest of tinder, gently swaddled it, and breathed life into the egg until it hatched into hot flames.

A full-fledged campfire wasn’t permitted. To build a sustainable fire, read our tutorials on Bombproof Fire Craft.

Doing the Stuff in Context

The bow and drill is the easiest of friction fire methods to learn since it maximizes your muscle power through leverage and mechanical advantage. On the second demonstration that day, we had enough time for one student to give it a whirl.

One male students knew all about this wilderness survival stuff from watching, in his words, “all the survival shows.” He knew the facts. He even told the class that we could carry the fire by placing it in dried elephant dung. Sadly, we were fresh out of elephant poop that day. His statement, true where elephants roam, highlights the importance of practicing wilderness skills in your wilderness (urban or rural) by actually Doing the Stuff.

As Steve Watts once said…

“… if it’s not in context, it’s just arts and crafts.”

Naturally, I asked our “survival expert” to try the bow and drill technique. He declined. Why? He knew all the facts but maybe he was afraid of failing in front of his friends. Whatever his reason, none of us can learn a new skill without learning to fail forward.

One of our female basketball players volunteered to try. She was very coachable and demonstrated good technique. For these two reasons, this young lady will probably be the first of my students to birth an ember by rubbing sticks together. We even had our resource officer watch and want to give primitive fire a spin.

Turning Class Inside Out

Not ever child may show interest in making fire from scratch. But I’ll bet they’ll stand in amazement watching the smoke and flames created by rubbing sticks together. This may be the hook needed to get them out of doors and into nature.

Every child needs to curiously explore his or her interest in our natural world. There’s more to this stuff than just building self-reliance skills. Their overall health and wholeness as a human being is the top benefit. Now, get outside and go wild!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has chanced. I do not permit the reposting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

Animal Parts Use Image.

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Don’t forget the brains can be used to brain tan animal skins. Bones can be used to make tools, spear & arrow points. Horns for containers; powder horns, tinder horns, grease horns, cups & other vessels. Tendons for bow strings & cordage. The hide for making many leather items & for making hide glue. 

Failed New Australian Survival Forum. But Old One Still Exists.

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Because I was not satisfied with present survival forums I attempted to start one myself. This failed miserably. Simply put not enough people were really interested in the forum, even though I bent over backwards to make it interesting & supplied plenty of choices on subjects. It was primarily a Primitive Survival forum, although modern equipment was not left out. Even so I think that most survival preppers & survivalists are not really serious about survival, they like the idea, but are not prepared to go the extra distance. Camping & playing at survival is fun, but this will not get you through a serious shtf situation.

If you can’t think of anything more important to carry than modern battery operated equipment & multi-tools along with a ferocerium rod for fire lighting, then in a long term wilderness survival/living situation you are going to be in a lot of trouble. How long do you think this modern equipment will last? What will you do when your hiking boots come apart at the seems? What you need is equipment & methods that are sustainable & to a point renewable, & you need to have skills.

Modern medical supplies & equipment are a priority, no argument there. Modern firearms if they are only used for defence & you can afford to carry them without compromising your ability to hunt are also fine. But if you are only going to carry a modern firearm for hunting & defence, then you will not only need to carry a lot of ammunition, but you will also be putting all your eggs in one basket!!!

If you are serious about survival, if you think there is a possibility that a TEOTWAWKI situation may arise in Australia, then I suggest you check out our forum “The Survival Connection” on our group’s 18th century Living History forum at: http://eighteenthcenturylivinghistory.freeforums.org/  We have some good people on this forum, knowledgeable people from all over with whom you can share your knowledge & learn from. 
Regards, Keith.

Purify Water Using Chemical Treatments

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Water purification tablets are a great back up form of water treatment. They are excellent Bug Out Bags and survival kits because they are light weight and inexpensive. Water purification tablets are also great to store in your vehicle or your bug out location to disinfect water on demand.  If the water supply I am drawing from is extremely shady I combine both a filter and the tablets to ensure my safety. Also, be aware that water purification tablets have a shelf life. Check the expiration dates on your tablets and replace any that are expired.

Water purification can come in tablet or droplet form. The tablet form is better because it is a lighter weight that droplets and easy to use when in a stressful situation.

Two water born pathogens that commonly found in untreated water- Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Cryptosporidium is a genus of apicomplexan protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans. According to the CDC it is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. In a disaster situation where government maintained services are effected, it is highly likely that this protozoa parasite will find its way into our water supply.

Giardia attached to the wall of the small intestines. Giardia is also an infectious protozoa and it is a big deal in emergency preparedness because it can have such a dramatic effect on your health. The symptoms of Giardia, may begin to appear 2 days after infection, include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. 

The typical infection within an individual can be slight, resolve without treatment in about 2–6 weeks, although sometimes longer and sometimes the infection is more severe requiring immediate medical attention. 

There are three main types of water purification tablets on the market (Chlorine (NaDCC), Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide) . Not all are equal as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Choose the purification tablet that works the best with your situation and location.

Chlorine Dioxide Tablets (Potable Aqua, Katadyn and Aquamira Brands). Even though the word “chlorine” is in the name, chlorine dioxide is neither iodine nor chlorine. It uses a highly active form of oxygen to purify water so it leaves absolutely zero taste. As a nice bonus the action of chlorine dioxide causes a lot of sediment to drop out of suspension (fall to the bottom) leaving the container of water more clear and further improving flavor. Chlorine dioxide tablets are a good choice for those allergic to iodine, with thyroid problems, or on lithium. Always follow product usage instructions.

Chlorine NaDCC Tablets (Potable Aqua, Oasis Plus, Aquatabsand Rothco’s Military “Chlor-Floc“ Brands). NaDCC, also known as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or sodium troclosene, is a form of chlorine used for disinfection. NaDCC tablets are different and improved over the older chlorine based (halazone) tablets. When added to water, NaDCC releases hydrochloric acid which reacts through oxidization with microorganisms and kills them. Many tablets advertise no chlorine after taste. Unopened NaDCC tablets have a shelf life of 3-5 years, if opened they should be discarded after 3 months. Always follow product usage instructions. 

Iodine Tablets (Potable Aqua,Coleman, and Coghlans brands). Iodine Tablets use iodine to purify contaminated water. Most iodine purification tablets tend to leave a funny taste to the water and some discoloration, however vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be added after the treatment time to improve the taste and remove the color. This often comes in the form of two bottles with two separate tablets. Iodine water treatment has been proven to be somewhat effective against Giardia and not effective against Crytosporidium.  Always follow product usage instructions. 

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower

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by Todd Walker

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Somewhere down your family tree a spear-thrower used a simple, two-piece weapon to bring home the bacon… or wooly mammoth… or mastodon. Ancient atlatls have been discovered on every continent except Antarctica.

What’s an atlatl?

A simple dart-throwing stick with a handle on one end and spur (male end) or socket (female end) on the other end. The dart, a flexible spear, mates with the spur/socket when thrown. Typically about two feet long, an atlatl employs leverage to extend the arm’s length to propel a dart further and with more velocity than when thrown using only the arm.

Spanish conquistadors discovered quickly that their state-of-the-art armor was no match for the primitive Aztec spear-throwers. Imagine becoming a kabob inside your standard issue fighting armor. The barbed stone point prevented Cortez’s men from pulling the shaft from their bodies in the opposite direction. It must be driven clean through the flesh to be removed. That’s impossible when the dart doesn’t pierce the backside of the metal suit. A slow death ensued when pinned inside one’s armor.

The primitive atlatl and dart system predates bow and arrow by thousands of years. The physics and math involved in this simple weapon is more complex than one might think. No. we’re not discussing calculus today. But we will delve into the past long enough to whet your appetite, and, hopefully spur you on to make your own dart-throwing weapon.

Down-n-Dirty Atlatl

As I wrote this piece, I quickly realized it would be too long for one to sit through. In the spirit of keeping you interested in this primal weaponry, I plan to make this a multi-part series on atlatls, darts, fletching, and throwing.

My friend and expert primitive skills instructor, Scott Jones, taught a “Quickie” Atlatl class at a recent Workshops at the Woods. Having never thrown an atlatl, much less made one, I signed up.

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

At first glance, the simplicity of this primitive technology deceives the beginning practitioner. There are details and tweaks which only experts like Scott have learned over years of experimentation. His idea of making a quickie atlatl from bamboo holds potential for self-reliant living. With a few basic knife skills, even atlatl newbies like me can carve out a very functional weapon.

Material and Tools

  • Bamboo ~ about thumb-size in diameter and about 2 feet long. River cane will work but is not as bountiful as bamboo in this diameter.
  • Knife
  • Fine-toothed saw (hacksaw blade works well)
  • Awl
  • Leather ~ used in making finger loops
  • Fire

Selecting Bamboo

Find a suitable piece of cane and cut it close to the ground. The way in which the nodes grow close together at the base of bamboo will make a heavier handle and add purchase when throwing. Scott provided shafts from his stand of golden bamboo on his property. I think you’ll find land owners happy to have you harvest as much bamboo as you’d like as it tends to take over. I’ve never been turned down.

Typically, atlatl length is about one-third the length of darts. Cut your bamboo so that a node is left at the smaller end of the atlatl. Mine measured 26 inches – armpit to the base of my middle finger. The end node will serve as the female “spur” which will mate with your dart.

Cut in a “Spur”

This style of atlatl has a cup (female joint) not an actual spur (male joint). Use your knife to cut a long notch in the last joint of the bamboo. Begin by making a stop-cut about 1/4 inch from the end node (spur end) to a depth of 1/3rd to half way through the shaft. The notch should taper from zero to about 1/3rd the depth of the chamber toward the end node. This notch should be about 6 to 8 inches long and wide enough to accept your chosen dart shaft. The photos below show the cut.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A hacksaw blade is handy for making the stop-cut

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Making the tapered cut to the end nock.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Scott cleaning up rough edges

Clean up any rough edges with your knife leaving a small semicircle 1/4 inch in front of the end node where the dart seats. Test the seating by placing a dart (river cane in this case) in the female end. Hold the dart in one hand, the atlatl in the other, and check if the dart fits and moves without resistance. The dart should swing freely out of the atlatl notch until they are almost at 90 degrees from each other.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The half-circle shown at the end node where the dart seats

Fire It

Before adding finger loops, pass your bamboo atlatl over and through a fire. Use leather gloves to keep the shaft moving through the flames over the entire surface. You’ll notice the waxes in the wood will begin to add a sheen to the atlatl. This process will help preserve the wood.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Firing the bamboo

Finger Loops

I found the bamboo atlatl (without finger loops) comfortable to throw by gripping the handle like a tennis racket. Scott had several different atlatl styles to practice with at class – some with loops, a few without. Finger loops add a secure hold on the shaft while throwing.

To add finger loops, bore a small hole through the handle end of the atlatl with an awl. The hole placement is determined by the base of your palm to the intersection of your index and middle fingers. Thread a piece of leather or buckskin through the hole and tie the ends to form a large loop. Test the fit by placing your fingers through the large loop with the shaft between your two fingers.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Leather looped through the holes and tied

Throwing with finger loops requires that you slip your index and middle fingers through the loops with the end of your grip at the base of your palm. Your loop fingers are split by the atlatl shaft with your thumb and remaining fingers securing the handle to your palm.

Ancient Atlatls: How to Make a Down-N-Dirty Spear-Thrower ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Adjust the loops by tightening or loosening the leather loop

Down-N-Dirty Atlatl Benefits

One advantage Scott pointed out about his “quickie” atlatl is the fact that you can throw inferior darts without nocks required with typical spur-mounted atlatls. Any straight stick or cane will make an effective hunting projectile. This down-n-dirty design can be made in the field with a lot less effort and skill than traditional atlatls.

I would recommend using this method for those interested in making a spear-thrower for the first time. The entire process can be complete in an hours time. Finding and straightening darts, well, that’s gonna take some time. But having this survival skill-set in your arsenal is well worth the investment.

If you’re interested in learning primitive technology, Scott offers a wide variety of classes at his Workshops at the Woods. For those not local to our area, he has written two essential books I reference often:

Next in the series we’ll cover atlatl darts ~ the primitive projectile which brought down wooly mammoths and turned armor-plated conquistadors into Spanish shish kabob.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

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Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Field Reload Kit With Brass Shotgun Ammo

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“Urban Man: Here is another great video from a friend of mine.”
Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.


1. Brass shot shells (size for weapon system being used, 12 gauge, etc.)
2. Shot
3. Pyrodex Rifle and shotgun powder (or preferred brand)
4. 209 shotgun primers
5. Large pistol primers
6. Wadding material
7. Over shot card material
8. Lighter and glue stick
9. Primer crimp tool or “C” clamp setup with deep well socket
10. Primer removal tool
11. Powder tamper tool
12. Powder and shot measuring tool
13. Container for brass shells
14. Container to store kit
15. 15/64 inch drill bit
16. 23/64 inch drill bit
17. Wad and over shot cutter tool
18. Drill
19. Flat piece metal stock
20. Rubber hammer or similar 
21. Flat piece of wood stock

Converting brass shell to accept the 209 primer:

1. First use the 15/64 drill bit and drill out the primer hole.
2. Using a 23/64 drill bit, drill a slight recess in the primer hole deep enough to allow the primer rim to seat flush with the bottom of the shell. See photo above.
3. Seat the 209 primer like you would a regular 12 gauge shell when reloading.

Note: Shotgun firing these types of reloads need to be cleaned more often than factory loaded ammo.

Reload 209 Shotgun Primers Using Field Expedient Methods

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Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.
Tools used for field expedient reloading
Items needed to reload 209 primer
Removing 209 primer components
209 primer assembly

“Urban Man” My survival buddy sent me another post in a series of reloading shotgun ammo. This video shows how to reload the primer as well when you have no primer replacements.”

Suggested tools used:

1. Antique hand primer crimp tool
2. Wood dowel for powder, wad and shot compressing
3. Primer removal tool with socket base (5/8 inch socket)
4. Rubber hammer
5. Wad cutter tool (for what ever size shell you are loading)
6. Flat punch that fits inside primer cup to flatten out dimple
7. Flat piece of metal stock
8. Flat piece of wood
9. Strike anywhere matches
10. Powder and shot measuring cups
11. Wad material (paper, plastic, wool, etc)
12. Over shot card material (cardboard, playing cards, etc)
13. 5.5 mm socket (used to remove primer cup)
14. Pin or finishing nail used to pound out primer cup.
15. Lighter or similar flame source
16. Glue stick
17. Rifle and shotgun powder with container (I used Pyrodex RS)
18. Bird shot with container (I used #7 1/2 in the video) 

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

One drawback from reloading spent primers is the chance that the match head powder or what ever other ignition source was used may not ignite and you get a dude fire.

In the event the primer does not ignite, wait about 60 seconds with the end of the barrel pointed on target in the event there is a cook off. A cook off is when the powder could be smoldering but has not yet ignited. If it ignites and the end of the barrel is pointed toward someone, there may be a chance of an accidental shooting.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

NEW Australian Survival Forum.

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I have recently started a new Australian Survival forum. Please check it out, & if you join, please feel free to post ideas & suggestions for improving this forum if you see a need.
Thank you.
Regards, Keith.

Fielding Expedient Ammo Reloading

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“Urban Man~ Here is an interesting lesson from a survival buddy of mine.”

Caution: This lesson is for educational purposes only. Gun powder is dangerous. Firing damaged or incorrectly loaded ammo is dangerous as well.

There may be a time in ones life when it may become necessary to have to reload ammo in the field, especially in a wilderness survival situation or the collapse of society. 

We are comfortable in knowing that at the moment we have access to ready made store bought ammo. But, what if that luxury was some how taken away? What if there were no stores left or available to purchase our ammo?

In such as situation, ammo can still be available if one knew how to obtain what was needed to reload their own. Spent ammo shells, especially shotgun shells can be found laying around all over the desert. Primers can be reconditioned and reloaded. Black powder can be homemade. Lead shot can be made from scrape lead.

You really do not need fancy reloading equipment in order to reload ammo in an emergency or self reliant situation.

Learn now to start saving your spent ammo hulls and shells. Set them aside to be reloaded at a later date when the time is needed.

Here are the steps that were covered in the video to reload a 12 gauge shell: (if this is the first time a plastic shotgun shell is being used, cut the top crimp fingers off the shell where the crimp line meets the star crimp.)

1. Remove primer
2. Install a new primer
3. Measure powder and add to shell
4. Using dowel rod, gently compress the powder in the shell
5. Add correct amount of wading (plastic, paper, animal hair, leather, etc.)
6. Using dowel rod again, gently compress the wad into the shell
7. Add correct amount of shot. (insure that there is enough room at the opening of the shell to add the over-shot card)
8. Add over-shot card and compress gently with dowel rod
9. Add glue over top of shot card ensuring that the inside walls of the shell receive glue as well
10. Immediately add another shot card over the top of the first one and apply gentle pressure to allow glue to spread out

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

Wattle and Daub: A Great Way to Build a House From Local Materials

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wattle and daub wikimediaBefore the 20th century, most people in the world had only one real option for building a house. It was a simple, though challenging option. They had to build their house out of whatever they could find in their local environment.

The process for building a locally sourced home was often uncomplicated and laborious, and the materials were usually quite simple. Depending on which part of the world these people were living in, this might include structures such as log cabins, sod houses, tents, or yurts. One of the most enduring structures that our ancestors built was the wattle and daub house, which has been used around the world for thousands of years, and continues to be used in some developing countries.

So what is wattle and daub? It’s a technique for building a house with walls that are made like a scaled up wicker basket (as seen in the photo above). Malleable branches are woven together (that’s the wattle) and oftentimes accompanied with a lumber frame, though a frame isn’t always necessary. Then the daub is smeared over the branches to fill in the cracks. This material varies widely by region, but usually consists of three ingredients:

  • A binder to hold everything together, usually clay and/or animal dung
  • An aggregate made of earth or sand
  • And some kind of reinforcement, such as straw or hay

Obviously, wattle and daub is no longer an ideal housing material. It doesn’t provide the same longevity, stability, or insulating qualities of modern home building materials. But just in case you need to build a cheap and easy structure after the SHTF, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to work with wattle and daub. If you’re looking for a quick introductory guide on building a house out of this stuff, check out the video below.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Primitive Skills, Better Prepared

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Primitive Skills, Better Prepared
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live

3-20-16 Primitive Skills ShowThis week on Herbal Prepper Live, we’re talking to Michael Douglas of the Maine Primitive Skills School. Hear from one of the field’s experts how primitive skills can help you both in good times and in bad.

Michael Douglas is a Registered Maine Guide.  His passion for nature, awareness, tracking, primitive skills, and philosophy, has taken him around the globe in search of teachers and opportunities to learn new skills. He is a former student of Paul Rezendes, Tom Brown Jr., Jon Young, and many others.

3-20-16 Mike-BioMike’s passion for both learning and teaching “primitive” techniques has earned him a unique reputation in the scouting community and among professional educators. After pursuing survival skills as a U.S Marine, he started his own Survival School in 1989 at the University of Maine.  In 1993 he was the recipient of the Marion Rich Waterman Mayer Award from the University of Maine College of Education.

Since then he has been a consultant for Discovery Channels’ “Dual Survivor” and was featured on National Geographics’ “Doomsday Preppers”, where he received the highest “Survivability Score” of the shows first season. He has also coached reality television participants on Naked and Afraid and has been a mentor to college students, professors, professional educators, Eagle Scouts, and television personalities.

His apprenticeship program is internationally known, offering participants from all over the world immersion in Tracking, Survival, Awareness, Bow Making, Wild Edibles, Medicinal Plants, Hunting, Trapping, and much more.  August, 2016 will mark this school’s 27th year of sharing skills with people globally.

Currently, Mike is working with the Sami of Sapmi in present day Sweden to revive their cultural tools in the context of our modern society. He also directly trains the apprentices, and instructors at the school as well as a consultant in educational, corporate and entertainment venues.

Mike credits his patient wife Karen and his children, Ryan, Dakota, and Emily, with their love and support in helping him realize his lifelong dream – teaching outdoor skills to all levels from beginners to military instructors of the craft.
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Knowing Your Priorities In a Primitive Situation.

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Knowing Your Priorities In a Primitive Situation.

Whenever you may find yourself in a survival situation or choosing to live off the grid or even primitive you will have 5 basic priorities that you must have in order to survive. Most people know this and some do not. Reality personalities categorize these the way they themselves place these in order of importance […]

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Survival as Recreation & a Social Activity.

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Prepping for survival can be a lot of fun, & I think it should be enjoyed. But treating survival solely as a recreational activity is not really preparing for survival. It can be fun to join a survival forum as a social activity, but if this is all it is, then you are not going to survive a major event.

If you are someone who thinks that a fuel stove is a good addition to your survival gear, then you are not really serious about surviving if or when the SHTF. If you are someone who defends their poor choices of survival gear by saying “when I run out of fuel for my stove I will throw the stove away”, then you are not serious about survival.

Long term wilderness survival, whether at your bush homestead or simply living in the bush, requires a “sustainable” outlook. Anything that has not got a reasonable chance of lasting the distance is a waste of space in your pack & extra weight that you do not need.

If you think that a radio, a battery operated torch & a solar battery charger are more important than food & water, then you are not serious about survival. We will always need more water, more food & more ammunition. There will always have to be a compromise between minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. Think about that, minimum weight & maximum self-reliance. Everything you put into your back pack should be chosen with these two important factors in mind.

If you are someone who ignores the above advice, then you are NOT serious about survival. Unfortunately there are many people who think this way on survival forums, & for those of us who are serious about our survival, this is very frustrating. We all love to share & learn, but if we are not learning anything useful, & we are not being taken seriously in our posts, then what is the point in us being on that forum? 

A quick note about modern firearms. A modern gun is by far the best tool for defence, but in terms of sustainability it rates pretty low. A .22 is probably a good choice, because the ammo weighs less than most other modern ammo choices. But if you are going to use this arm for hunting & defence, then you will use up a lot of ammunition. If you carry a bow as well as the gun & set up a trap line at you final destination, then this will help conserve your firearm ammunition for defence only.

My choice as most know is the muzzle-loading gun, & I will post a list of reasons why I choose this tool above a modern gun at the end of this writing. But I will not be alone, I will have others to carry modern firearms for defence, our group also includes some archers, including myself, so we are well covered. My theory on long term wilderness living is also known to many, I believe that anyone starting out with the main bulk of equipment being modern gear will eventually be reduced to living a stone age lifestyle as items start to malfunction & wear out. Where as someone who starts off  with mostly 18th century gear will never drop below that level of comfort & security.

Remember, though certain survival situations may require a military style outlook (militia), there will be NO supply drops! You are on your own. If you gear breaks down it is gone. If you run out of something that can not be replaced from nature, it is gone! 
Good luck & stay in touch.
Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.

Survival & Long Term Wilderness Living Chores. What will you be doing?

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My wife says that if there are any modern gadgets that will make wilderness living more comfortable or survival more likely, then she would like to have them. My problem with most modern gadgets is that they don’t in my opinion add to ones comfort, & they are not sustainable for the most part. Two types of people disagree with my way of thinking; those that have already invested in a multitude of modern gadgets & are not about to do it any other way, & those that are really not interested in long term wilderness survival, they are more into camping & pretending they are surviving.
I will agree that some modern gadgets could be useful in a “lost” situation, but long term, no, I don’t think so. Fuel stoves for instance, even home made so called “hobo stoves” that burn wood. How much do these weigh? How much room to they take up in your pack? Do you seriously think that these are a priority? Is there nothing else that you would rather be carrying in there place?
If they are only carrying modern firearms, how long do you think the ammunition will last if it is used for defence & hunting? How much ammo can they carry to make it worthwhile? What if the firearm malfunctions? How many spare parts are they going to carry for their compound bows? What if they drop & break their ferocerium rods? By using & carrying all these gadgets, what primitive skills have they learnt ready for the time when this modern gear starts to break down?

Battery powered torches for letting raiders know where you are! Solar panels for recharging heavy batteries, radios, hiking boots, compound bows. I wish I could remember now all the gadgets that have been recommended on various forums, but I dare say you can think of more yourself.

So when they get to where you are going in the wilderness with these various gadgets, what do you think they will be doing? What daily chores will they have? Water collection, collecting firewood, checking the trap line, hunting, ranging for security, on watch duty for security, cooking meals, boiling water for purification, dehairing animal hides, brain tanning animal skins, making clothing, making moccasins, fishing, foraging for food & tinder plants, smoking animal skins, digging toilet holes, preparing & tending gardens, perhaps constructing shelters or defenses, collecting Goonagurra for making matting & arrow shafts, making reed mats, bow making, arrow making, attending militia drill, can you think of more?
So tell me, where do these gadgets come into helping with these chores? How do they make life more comfortable? How do they help you survive? And whilst we are at it, are they sustainable? How long will they last?

Anyway, just something for people to think about.

Advantages of A Flintlock Muzzle-loader.

Why Go Barefoot?

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The Best Minimalist Shoes are Homemade

Marjory loves to go barefoot. And she’s not alone. In this video, she talks to master herbalist Doug Simons about some of the reasons why they both prefer to go without shoes most of the time.

They also show some of the “running shoes” used by the Tarahumara in their long-distance ball game, rarajipari. Called huaraches de tres puntos, they look more like sandals than running shoes to me. I can’t imagine running through a canyon in those… but Doug explains why the thin soles are actually better for your feet…

Learn More at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit

Marjory and Doug both agree that they wouldn’t want to go barefoot in public places like gas stations and public bathrooms. And Doug says he puts on shoes any time he goes into town.

Marjory’s definitely not afraid to do a little work without her shoes on, as you might have noticed in this post 4 Uses of a Lawn Mower, or this one How to Use Squash Pits for Bigger Garden Yields.

If you want to learn how to make a pair of your own sandals, be sure to tune in to the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. Doug will be giving a full demonstration during the summit, and you can watch it for free by registering here: Register for the Home Grown Food Summit.

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Hunter Gathering Cook

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Hunter Gathering Cook

‘Dent-de-lion’: Hunting Lions, Salade Pissenlit & the Ultimate pickling liquid. One of the first questions asked by many a beginner when it comes to their first foray into the wild larder is ‘what easiest to begin with?’ The most obvious would be the stinging nettle, blackberries, elderflower and of course: the dandelion. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) […]

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Survival.  The very idea of being placed in a survival situation evokes deep feelings.  The reaction it stirs in you indicates a great deal about how you would react to an unexpected situation where lives may be on the line.  Could you accurately assess your ability to survive in a real survival situation?  Do you […]

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Primitive Life Intro

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Primitive Life Intro

                                                                                  Primitive life     Hello my name is Jason Wroten. I came up with the concept of primitive life training last year. I felt the need to teach people primitive survival skills in hope of spreading the ancient knowledge that was passed down to me at a young age and knowledge that I […]

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21 Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

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Being able to stay safe while involving in outdoor activities is probably the number one priority for every outdoorsmen. The best way to do so is to master some of the Basic Wilderness Survival Skills that you will definitely need them in most situations. Therefore, I would like to share with you an infographic made … Continue reading

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Bone Broth

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Bone Broth

Bone Broth It’s winter here in Colorado so Aaron with Dream Catcher Botanicals shows you how to make bone broth. Stay warm! Bone Broth

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A Delicious Cheese Spread, Welsh Rabbit from 1788.

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A Delicious Cheese Spread, Welsh Rabbit from 1788.

Today’s recipe is from Richard Briggs’ 1788 cookbook, “The English Art of Cookery” It’s for a delicious and easy cheese spread. Jon shows first how to make it, then he demonstrates three ways to serve it, including an authentic recipe for Welsh rabbit, a very popular Tavern food of the day! A Delicious Cheese Spread, […]

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The Lightest and Crispiest Cookie You’ll Eat!

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The Lightest and Crispiest Cookie You’ll Eat!

The cookie we make in today’s video was called a “drop biscuit” in the 18th century recipe we’ve selected from Eliza Smith’s 1734 cookbook, “The Compleat Housewife.” It is a fine example of a traditional egg-leavened biscuit or cake. While this recipe has only three simple ingredients, if you make it by hand without the […]

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(Video) Building an Oven with Cob

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cob-ovenI usually like to do things fast!

Why bake when you can fry?

Why whittle when you can use a bandsaw?

Why bother planting all your seeds in perfect rows when you can scatter them everywhere and thin later?

Yet sometimes, taking things slow leads to wonderful results. In the case of my friend Joe Pierce’s homemade earth oven, his patience and design work have created something beautiful, and profitable.

This is his third cob oven and he believes it’s so well engineered at this point that it will be around long after he’s gone.

For those of you not familiar with “cob,” it’s an ancient method of earth construction that relies on clay, sand, straw, and sometimes other ingredients such as manure and sawdust. Once mixed properly and kneaded together, cob can stand for centuries – and its insulation power is incredible.

You can use cob to build ovens, houses, and even (with some extra ingredients) showers and ponds.

Building with cob is not as quick as framing up a building or buying an iron stove, but when you see this oven and hear Joe share how many days it stays hot after firing, along with how versatile a “low-tech” earth oven can be, I think you’ll agree that the extra work was time well-spent.

Check this video out:

He’s using that oven for making pizza, baking bread, drying jerky, dehydrating, and even for making biochar for his gardens. Joe also explains in the video how you can use this oven for wood gasification or even generating electricity!

Something that surprised me as well is how little wood it really takes to get multiple days of baking out of this oven. I went to Joe’s knowing very little about cob construction and received a whole education in earth oven construction — and he was nice enough to let me film the entire thing and share it with all you wonderful members of the [Grow] Network. (By the way — I post a lot of gardening and homesteading videos on my YouTube channel — you can subscribe here: davidthegood’s Youtube channel).

Building that oven took time, yet it certainly proved to me yet again that good things come to those who wait. It was also quite peaceful working the cob into the sides of the oven… reminded me of being a kid again. Unfortunately I couldn’t film and apply cob at the same time, so you won’t see me covered in mud in this video. That’s going to have to wait until Marjory signs off on my Homestead Mudwrestlemania idea, which should happen any day now.

So — have you done cob construction or had experience with earth ovens? I would love to hear your stories in the comments section below!

Note: if you’re ever in Micanopy, Florida — you can see this oven and check out Joe and his wife Emily’s excellent homesteading, bake shop, and coffee joint at www.mosswoodfarmstore.com.


What’s in my kit?

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With everyone showing pictures of their pocket dump, present company included, the other day a question arose; “What’s in your kit?”. While it is modeled after the 10C’s by David Canterbury, I adjust it to fit my needs specifically based on outing and time of year. Tarps (Cover) – 10’x12′ Coyote Tan BCUSA Tarp (Left) … Continue reading

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Arrow Making

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Master Woodsman

by Jeff Martin Primitive cultures and their means of making bows and arrows have always been an interest of mine. As a young boy, I remember visiting museums throughout the West with my Grandmother, where I had a deep fascination towards the Native American way of life. I always asked my Grandmother where the arrowheads […]

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Tarragon is a culinary and medicinal herb that is rich in vitamins A, C, and B-complex and minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium. It is known to help stimulate the appetite, relieve flatulence and colic, balance the body’s acidity, alleviate the pains of arthritis, rheumatism and gout, regulate menstruation, stop hiccups, prevent dyspepsia, […]

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Aeta Jungle Survival Trek with Colonel Thomas “Tomahawk” Moore

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Master Woodsman

I was lying on my bamboo bed in the cool of the early morning jungle dawn. I was using a damp cotton bed sheet as a blanket, and my reeking pack as a pillow. It was very uncomfortable. The humidity and my wet clothing were conspiring to make comfortable sleep impossible. It had been raining […]

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Bow-drill Fire Workshop

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On my list of skills to start learning this year, friction fire is near the top of the list. There are several methods that can accomplish this task, however the two specific ones I want to focus on is bow-drill and hand-drill fires. This being said, I was happy to spend a day learning and creating my own … Continue reading

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